I have no clue as to why, but one of the places I’ve wished to see this lifetime is Chicago. It is a metropolis; a city of stories, a city of so many films, of city of character….I wanted to touch it and make it tangible.
And so I did, September 2017 I took a short trip to visit. Of course, what can you learn in a short visit? Not much. You learn from living there, or best from at least visiting with a local but I do not know anyone there so I take what is available and venture out on my own for a few days. I do some research, sign up for a few excursions – because I have dropped my arrogant stupid pride and avail myself of the wonderful information a guide provides! – excursions for things that sound of interest to me, that are organized by seemingly good companies and that fit in my time frame. I try to be smart.
I had a wonderful time. I underestimated the distance from the Navy Pier back to North State Street, where my hotel was…and wanted to stroll Millenial Mile en route, so I crashed when I finally got back to my hotel at 5pm and slept through the night! Or perhaps it was the two mojitos on the cruise 🙂
I tried to meander and find Chicago deep dish pizza, even using google maps and TripAdvisor on my walks but did not. I will have to settle for New York/New Jersey, which is darn good anyway. Oh well.
I learned fascinating things – and I’m an info junkie
- The owner of the Chicago Tribune had his traveling reporters bring back stone from far away venues; he incorporated the stone into his building (see photos), as he was proud that his newspaper traveled everywhere.
- The home of the Chicago Bears is Soldier Field can only hold 50,000 people; hence, it will never host a Super Bowl….that size is too small for a Super Bowl by NFL standards
- There are two remaining and standing buildings shown in the photos of the firehouse that served in the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 which withstood the fire due to their construction of masonry.
- This is an excellent link ….I became so curious! …. with info about the buildings THAT SURVIVED the Great Chicago Fire
- Locals do not call Chicago the Windy City but The Smelly Onion (I don’t know why)
- Mayor Jane Byrne was asked by Dan Akroyd and John Belushi if they could smash a vehicle into a municipal building for the movie Blues Brothers. The City Council had a fit and said no; she said yes. It was the beginning of Chicago being used in many films and tv locations. She did what she wanted.
- Goldstar Memorial Park sits across from Soldier Field. It is dedicated to slain police officers and has been there since 1924.
- The so-called fancy shopping boulevard (I found it it plain), The Magnificent Mile is modeled after The Champs des Elysees in France.
- Chicago is the home to 2.9 million people making it the nation’s 3rd largest city in density after New York and LA. I found the City to be very clean, however, ironically, I found there to be a sparsity of trash receptacles.
- Mayor Daly had a tremendous impact on Chicago’s park system; during his tenure 550 parks were constructed
I sure squeezed in a lot!
I do so love learning new things! In essence, I found Chicago to be very, very similar to New York in so many ways including its inhabitants. I did, however, notice that there didn’t seem to be anyone “odd”, “different”, “rebellious”, etc. on the streets but rather a general generic hipster/working person clone-dom of generally nice humans. It’s pleasant.
I was happy to come home. For me, I need a bit of the edge and odd close by to feel safe and snug.